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Action Day at the State House for Transgender Equal Access

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Monday Jan 14, 2013
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Transgender people and their allies are invited to join the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition and the Transgender Equal Rights Coalition on Jan. 17 for an Action Day for Transgender Equal Access, at the Massachusetts State House to ask legislators to co-sponsor the Equal Access to Public Accommodations bill.

"Action Day for Equal Access is the opportunity for transgender and allies to reconnect with their legislators and in some cases, meet newly elected policy makers, and provide education on the effects of discrimination on transgender youth, adults and families, as well as local communities," MTPC Executive Director Gunner Scott told EDGE.

The event is intended as an opportunity to urge legislators to co-sponsor the Equal Access to Public Accommodations bill, title and number to be assigned soon. The final version of the 2011 Act Relative to Gender Identity, originally filed as Transgender Equal Rights Bill, passed by the legislature did not include protections within public accommodations section of the nondiscrimination laws.

MTPC and the Transgender Equal Rights Coalition are committed to securing public accommodations protections for transgender youth, adults and families. Examples of public accommodations include healthcare facilities and hospitals, public transit and bus stations, hotels and other places of lodging, restaurants, bars and nightclubs, retail establishments, theaters, museums, libraries, amusement parks and even public streets, highways and sidewalks.

"Action Day for Equal Access is the opportunity for transgender and allies to reconnect with their legislators and in some cases, meet newly elected policy makers and provide education on the effects of discrimination on transgenders."

According to the 2009 National Transgender Discrimination survey, 58 percent of Massachusetts’ respondents indicated that they had experienced verbal harassment or mistreatment in public accommodations such as restaurants, hotels, airports, and government agents because of their transgender identity.

Scott said that at MTPC, they receive calls and emails from transgender women and men who have been denied entrance to restaurants by staff, told by hotel front desk staff that they were not welcome there, or have had the policed called on them when trying to shop for clothes like any other law abiding customer.

"Places of public accommodations are also places that fulfill some of our most basic needs, such as accessing healthcare in a hospital, buying food in your neighborhood supermarket, or taking a public bus to your job or school," said Scott. "No one should be turned away just because of who they are, including transgender youth and adults."

The Action Day at the State House for Transgender Equal Access will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17 in Suite 167 of the Massachusetts State House. To RSVP, visit http://www.masstpc.org/take-action/current-legislation/legislative-action-day/

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women’s news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she writes about local restaurants in her food blog, http://brooklyniscookin.blogspot.com/

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